Nutrition Tips from Our Wellness Specialists

March is National Nutrition Month – a fitting time of year in New England as the snow finally starts to melt and signs of life return and our winter bodies come out of hibernation. We thought we would ask our Wellness Specialists for their top nutrition tips for inspiration on improving health and wellness through food.

Brenda Houdlette, Women's Health NurseWe welcome our resident Women’s Health Nurse Brenda Houdlette back in early April. Brenda can often be seen in the Nutra department, helping women find supplements and herbs helpful for hormone support. She has a passion for cooking and creating tasty, new meals using a variety of foods.  She says “I am passionate about good quality food and love to try new foods native to Maine or any other state or country we have and opportunity to visit.” Brenda recommends 1 leafy green and 1 orange, yellow or red vegetable on your lunch and dinner plate every day. What does that look like? A big lunch salad with arugula and bell peppers, and broccoli with sweet potato at dinner. Orange/red and yellow fruits and vegetables are high in carotenoids (great antioxidants) and flavonoids (powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients.)
Joel Hall, Wellness SpecialistJoel Hall is a staple in the nutra department. If you have ever asked which fish oil or vitamin D to take, you have probably benefited from his expertise. Joel suggests: “smother everything in coconut oil. (Really!)” Coconut oil has become the prodigal child of healthy fats in the past few years for its medium chain triglycerides and immune supportive benefits. Coconut fat is a saturated fat, which gave it bad press for a number of years as it was lumped together with hydrogenated saturated fats (man-made trans fats) which are a completely different breed of oil. Coconut oil is partially composed of medium chain triglycerides, which are utilized by the liver for energy without raising insulin levels or being stored as fat. This makes it a great fuel for the body. Coconut oil is also partially composed of a fat called lauric acid, which is converted into monolauric acid in the body. Monolauric acid is a potent antiviral and antibacterial. This versatile tropical oil is great for cooking and for topical use in body care for all ages.

Dan Baker, Wellness SpecialistDan Baker,
 a part-time member of the Nutraceutical department, is very into fitness. He worked the past five years as a Personal Trainer through A.C.E., as well as a Health and Fitness consultant for ten years before joining the CPW Nutra team. Follow him on his Facebook page.Dan says; “I’m an advocate of functional fitness and nutrition, approaching wellness with much humor, heart, imagination, and empathy. I enjoy all things science, history, nature, plus great captivating stories.” Dan’s nutrition tips are about improving the nutrient value of home baked goods. He suggests: “To make recipes healthier, substitute  protein powders and germs / brans (oat, wheat, rice etc)  for one-quarter to one-half of the flour called for.  Cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, ricotta, mashed up kidney or black beans and unsweetened apple sauce also increase fiber while retaining moisture content sometimes lost when cutting back on sugars, starches and / or fats in baked goods. Finally, olive oil, coconut oil and nut butters are great flavor options for added variety when eliminating butter, shortening and margarine to make lighter, less greasy snacking fare and on the go munchies.”

Melissa Brodeur, Wellness SpecialistMelissa Brodeur has worked in the Retail Pharmacy Department for several months, and joined the Nutraceutical department part time. She works at Bee Well Massage on Fore Street as a massage therapist when she is not at CPW. Her Bee Well mission is to stay connected to her three passions, alternative health, music and honeybees by providing off-beat, creative healing methods to musicians and artists, and creative minds alike. As a local honeybee maven, Melissa suggests adding local bee pollen to your Spring supplement regime for allergy support. Our Maine Medicinals bee pollens are collected, immediately frozen, and then tested at an independent laboratory for 1) purity, 2) absence of heavy metals, and 3) absence of pesticides and fertilizer residue.  Bee pollen is a powerful superfood, and is yummy added to fresh fruit smoothies with organic leafy greens and protein for a great spring breakfast.
Greg Boucouvalas, PharmacistGreg Boucouvalas, one of our pharmacists, has a passion for human nutrition. Like Brenda, Greg advocates for using the colors of food to increase your phytonutrient profile and improve nutrition. He referenced a recent Detox Summit presentation by Deanna Minich who suggested the following tips:• Use spices in every meal (cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, oregano, thyme, scallion, ginger, fennel and more)
• Instead of white rice, try brown, purple or black rice.
• Switch from mashed potatoes to sliced carrots or mashed cauliflower
• Switch from corn to spinach
• Get one smoothie per day
• Add rinds of oranges or lemons to water, chicken, fish
• Eat fruit salads
• Make stir-fries
• Try a little bit of every color at a salad bar

We have a wealth of wisdom here at CPW. Nutrition is not about following a certain diet – it is an understanding of the important effect that food has on our mind, body and spirit. Hippocrates is often quoted as saying “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” This is the foundation that nutrition is built on. However, any ideology that is too rigid will inevitably create a backlash that undoes the fat loss or short term detox benefits acquired from the restriction phase. Hippocrates also said “Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.” Try jicama, add gogi berries to your salad, eat some dark chocolate, buy local bacon; be adventurous with your food and allow yourself the freedom to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This, plus a rainbow of food colors each day, alternative baking flours and oils for your homemade goodies, and some Maine bee pollen, and you will be all set! Happy March, Happy Nutrition Month!

About the Author

Coastal Pharmacy & Wellness Staff

Coastal Pharmacy & Wellness Staff

Our staff specialties range from pharmaceuticals to nutritional health and wellness, to sports nutrition. We are here to share that knowledge. If we don't know immediately, we'll find out. Stop into the pharmacy or nutritional health and wellness department to ask questions relating to your specific needs, or send us an email.


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